…Might be the phrase used for Olly Stone as I watched a thrilling T20 draw at Edgbaston last night.
I might be a traditionalist but 462 runs in 40 overs is good entertainment (if you favour batsmen) and with the added bonus of Birmingham Bears hospitality and free Pedigree (Marston’s) for the evening then it was almost perfect!
Stone’s figures were 3-0-59-0-19.67-0-0 which means he can draw solace from the fact he bowled no wides or no balls, although that might have helped his figures!
“He’s taking some tap,” was heard quite frequently in the Eric Hollies Stand as the ball was despatched to all part of Birmingham but a sumptuous reply from Ian Bell – 131 off 77 balls with 11 fours and seven sixes meant a thrilling draw with both sides scoring in excess of 11 an over.
I know this is a beer blog but I have to say I love watching Bell as he is just so textbook and most of his sixes were through mid-on or mid-off with a stylish pose held afterwards.
I’m not sure what Bob Willis would have made of it all from a bowling perspective as most of my youth was spent watching him steam in from the boundary to random shouts of “Come on Bob.” In particular from a bloke who spent most of the summer asleep under a huge sombrero in the Rae Bank stand but would always stir when Willis came in to bowl!
One of the many reasons I like cricket is the fact it is still socially acceptable to watch it and have a few beers and no one gets too stressed about the result.
There were some very funky Hardy’s wine posters in the gents at Edgbaston (see above) and it all seems a far cry from Willis let alone Eric Hollies.
This was the spinner who famously bowled Don Bradman for a duck in his final test innings ensuring his average stayed beneath 100 but also took over 2000 wickets for Warwickshire.
These are the sort of stats that not only get a stand named after you but also a road in the local vicinity.
Hollies Croft is just set back from the Pershore Road next to the ground and 252- The Edgbaston Tap B5 7QN is basically a 1960’s style boozer at the end of a shopping arcade.
It’s a two-roomed pub that would probably have bitten the dust a few years back if it wasn’t for the trade from Warwickshire CC.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a place for beer aficionados as it sells no cask (or craft for that matter) and is in a part of town not over stocked with pubs, so it is playing to its audience.
(that looks like a plastic glass to me)
I half expected to find a couple of cricket balls in there from the many sixes spanked off poor old Olly Stone when I rolled up at the close of play but I couldn’t see any.
However, what I did see was quite a few Bears fans in T20 headdress drinking and having a giggle to make a good atmosphere.
I’ve been in here before when only the bar is open but they obviously cater for more punters on T20 games and the back room was open and buzzing.
This is the sort of boozer that is defying the odds by staying open and long may it continue. Ultimately, not every fan who goes to watch Warwickshire wants to sit in the corporate area all day/night and this pub provides a service for the fans and also the locals…although the atmosphere is different when there is no cricket fixture on…not better or worse…just ‘different.’
Football and cricket are the two major sports in England for me and anybody from Birmingham, which is a bit of a rugby free zone, of a certain age, is likely to agree.
I also learned that it is National Pub Fortnight…and The Edgbaston Tap is one of 2,500 pubs across Britain handing out free drinks and I missed a trick there!
(a pub with beermats!)
However, as many of Birmingham’s shiny new bars embark on #BrumBW18 with Birmingham’s beer week from July 20-29, https://www.birminghambeerweek.uk/ The Edgbaston Tap was ploughing its own furrow, which it has done successfully for the best part of 60 years.